I visited Kobe a couple of times during my stay in the Kansai region, and I will write another post with the details of the places I visited on those days. For now, I'd just like to list a few of the reasons why I ♥ Kobe!
Kobe has an enviable location, between the foot of the Rokko Mountain range and the sea. The mountains offer many kilometres of hiking trail, as well as a couple of interesting destinations, including Nunobiki Falls and Nunobiki Herb Gardens. I love being able to escape the city easily, and so its proximity to the mountains, where you can enjoy nature, fresh air, and an incredible view of the city below, are one of the main reasons I love Kobe.
|Nunobiki Herb Garden & Ropeway|
|A view of the city and port from above|
Of course, Kobe Bay offers the second route of escape from the city. Although it is a busy port area, it is still incredibly soothing to be able to sit by the bay, look out over the sea and enjoy the sea breeze. Meriken Park offers an area where you can relax, have a picnic and enjoy being beside the seaside on a sunny day. There are also some worthwhile places to visit in the port area, including the Earthquake Memorial Park, Kobe Port Tower, and Kobe Maritime Museum.
|A view out into the bay|
|A glimpse of the great destruction caused by the Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake|
|Earthquake memorial park with Kobe Maritime Museum and Kobe Port Tower in the background|
Not only does Kobe have a wonderful location, between the mountains and the sea: the town itself is also quite stylish and well looked after. The first time I visited Kobe, I walked from Sannomiya station towards the sea, via Flower Road, which very much lives up to its name, being decorated not only with beautiful flower beds, but also sculptures and fountains. Kobe seems to take pride in its appearance, which makes walking through the city a more pleasant experience for both tourists and residents alike.
|Flower road, living up to its name|
|A fountain on Flower Road|
|The tree-lined road viewed from above|
I'm not sure if it's the mediterranean sensation of walking along the waterfront, or the tree-lined avenues, but I feel like Kobe has much more of a laid-back, continental vibe than some other cities in the area.
On my first visit to Kobe, I came across a farmers' market, an initiative by Eat Local Kobe. Saturday morning markets selling fresh local produce abound in Europe, but I hadn't come across something like this in Japan previously. It was a joy to find this busy little market, with visitors enjoying the variety of edible offerings from local producers.
The Kitano area in Kobe, where foreign merchants historically settled, also has a very European air to it - plus lots of continental-inspired cafes and restaurants to go with it.
|Weathercock House, Kitano|
|Statue of a saxophone player|
These are just some of the reasons why I love Kobe. There are of course many other reasons to visit Kobe: from the famous Kobe beef to the historic sake district, from Arima onsen to the longest suspension bridge in the world. Whatever your interests, be it food, nature or culture, there's much to explore in Kobe. It's such a relaxed and liveable city, that I really hope I can spend more time there in the future.
What do you like best about Kobe?